Friday, September 7, 2007

Smoked Cheddar Macaroni and Cheese

Damn. Knocked it out of the park. We had a great Smoked Cheddar Mac 'n' Cheese at Glenn's last week and this was my attempt to recreate it. I looked at a lot of recipes and went with this recipe from Epicurious.com, which was originally from the Fanny Farmer Cookbook.

The excuse for making such a health hazard at home was that Channing was going to be swimming the Big Shoulders on Saturday morning and needed to carbo-load. It was pretty clear late Friday afternoon that work stuff was going to interfere with his ability to participate (3:30 am log-ins, etc), but I was committed (and craving).

I picked up a Wisconsin Smoked Cheddar at Whole Foods which was, unfortunately, massively expensive. Something like $13/lb. There was a less expensive one, but it was reduced fat, which the manager of the cheese area confirmed would make for a crappy sauce.

The result was really, really nice. It wasn't anywhere close to Glenn's, as the sauce didn't bake up as creamy. But I dare say that it was a success in its own right. I think I might try a mix with a smoked gouda next time, for texture, flavor and price.

This also counts as a Basic Skill since the Cheese sauce is a bechamel (white sauce). There's a link to the sauce recipe within the main recipe, but here's a direct one. I had never made one before and had actually made sure to avoid them. I've never made a gumbo or jambalaya as a result (roux being very similar to a bechamel - cooked a bit more to get to a golden brown, I believe). Needless to say, the reference they make that, "This used to be one of the first lessons in home economics classes" stings a bit. Nonetheless, I executed it flawlessly - no burned butter, no lumps of flour and all the flour got cooked completely. Woo-hoo!

1 comment:

MC said...

That's a pretty similar recipe to the one I use, except that mine adds onions to the cheese sauce. I've been experimenting with different cheeses and different additions (the sliced mushrooms I used recently were a hit).

There's a restaurant that does a lobster mac and cheese that I keep meaning to try to reproduce. Yummy!